The 5:2 Diet and me!
I never thought I’d write a diet book… or a recipe book, or a guide to being happier and healthier!
And yet, now I’ve done all three.
The 5:2 Diet Book – originally published in November 2012 – has gone onto be published in 16 different languages – while The Ultimate 5:2 Recipe Book, which came out in Spring 2013, includes dozens of delicious menu ideas, plus the stories of some of the most successful dieters who have helped spread the word about this lifestyle.
And the latest book, 5:2 Your Life, combines a brand new six-week eating plan, with a complete guide to applying this easy, flexible approach to everything that matters in your life – from family, relationships and friends, to work, fitness and living your dreams.
To discover more about the books, go to the dedicated site: www.the5-2dietbook.com – but here’s a personal insight into how I came to write the books.
From yoyo dieter to diet author… the most unlikely transformation of my life
In some ways I am a diet expert. I’ve tried – and failed at – more than my share of miracle weight loss cures over the years. But earlier this year I accepted that I lacked he willpower to keep the weight off, even though I knew it was putting me at increased risk of cancer and Type II diabetes, both of which have blighted my family…
And then I discovered 5:2 dieting - sticking to a strict diet for two days a week, and being free to eat the foods I love the rest of the time. I watched the BBC’s Horizon programme in August 2012, where presenter Michael Mosley tried out different approaches to fasting. The one that really appealed to me was the intermittent version he tried after speaking to researcher Krista Varady in Chicago. It seemed too good to be true, promising not just weight loss but also reduced risk of the diseases that scared me most, and even positive effects on the brain.
I looked for a book about the approach, but all I could find seemed to be written by body builders, or Paleo dieters, who follow a stone age style regime involving a lot of meat – as a long-term vegetarian, that didn’t seem relevant.
Despite my doubts, I decided I had nothing to lose except my muffin top and followed my instincts. Within days, I sensed it would work for me. After six months, I’d lost 28 pounds – two stone – and was a healthy weight. But, much more significantly, it transformed my attitude to food and hunger, and when I celebrated my ‘Fastiversary’ in August 2013, I felt this was a regime I will stick to for life.
I wanted to spread the word – so The 5:2 Diet Book was born…
When I started the diet, I had dozens of questions – about the incredible science behind the diet, about how much to eat on ‘Fasting’ days, and whether it was really true that I could eat whatever foods I liked on my Feasting Days. It was pretty time-consuming trying to find out the truth – I went online to read original research studies, and also set up a Facebook group with a few friends I knew were doing the same thing. That same group encouraged me to put the findings – and their own tips, recipes and approaches to what people started calling 5:2 (or 5/2, 5-2 or five-two) – into a book. And that’s how The 5:2 Diet Book came about! Oh, and that group that began with six members, now has 15,000… (you can join in the fun here).
Proof of the (sticky toffee) pudding?
The second picture was taken in the summer of 2013: I weigh two stone less and am about 500% more confident (and I have better hair…!).
The other books…
After The 5:2 Diet Book was published, our Facebook group grew, and so did the requests for more recipes to help. So I cooked – and calorie counted – around the clock, with the help of a great home economist and food photographer and The Ultimate 5:2 Recipe Book was published in Spring 2013, with lots of extra tips, and some great recipes from the pioneers who’d helped me by sharing their tips, and their journey.
I’d also become fascinated by the way 5:2 was inspiring people to make other changes once they felt more in control – our group included people who changed jobs, took up running, booked dreamed of trips, got pregnant, started new relationships. At the end of 2012, I’d shared a short document I’d written about goal-setting for a great 2013, and was thrilled with the response. So I began to work on a book that combined the diet approach (and lots of new recipes) with techniques and challenges to help you make changes to other parts of your life, but using the two-day-a-week approach. 5:2 Your Life was published in December, just in time for New Year Resolutions… and I’ll be doing it all over again in January.
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